Why Blackbirds?

by Saralyn Richard

Blackbirds are middle-sized birds with beautiful singing voices. Similar to ravens, the blackbirds have glossy black feathers. As nocturnal animals, they have often been linked to darkness and mystery, and they have often been the subjects of poets, novelists, and artists of all types. In addition, blackbirds are considered among the most intelligent, intuitive birds, based on their unique bird calls for different purposes and their strategic behaviors. Because of their intelligence, they are often used to symbolize knowledge. Some societies use blackbirds as totems or as spiritual animals.

Blackbird Writers
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Blackbirds in Literature

Various cultures view blackbirds differently, with attitudes ranging from positive to negative. For example, blackbirds are the national birds of Sweden, and their proud images grace currency, stamps, and other government documents. At the same time, in other countries, they are viewed as portenders of bad luck and evil.

Literature, especially, has loved the blackbird, with countless famous examples of the intuitive animals appearing in books, poems, plays, and songs. Who can’t forget Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” the song “Bye Bye Blackbird,” or the four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie? And, of course, Edgar Allan Poe’s raven has become perhaps the most well-known symbol of the “dark and dreary,” so much so, that the black bird is the Mystery Writers’ of America mascot.

Blackbirds Writers soaring
Image courtesy of Pixabay

The Blackbirds’ Song

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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